What You Need to Know About Mobile App Penetration Testing

by Carter Toni

Mobile App

Mobile application pentesting processes are targeted at finding – and resolving – security vulnerabilities through specific testing methods in order to secure the barriers of the mobile environment. The broad purview of mobile application security focuses on both client-side security while managing the access and privileges of the end-user under the pentesting methodology.

Through pentesting procedures, companies are able to detect the easily visible and hidden security risks within the system and the source code. If all the possible attack vectors and vulnerabilities are detected beforehand, firms that are dependent on their products and services don’t have to worry about compromising their clients’ trust or business reputation. 

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Different Types of Mobile App Penetration Testing

Given the value offered by pentesting processes to various companies and firms, experts and third-party pentesting service providers have designed specific testing procedures for different systems and business requirements.

1. Client-side Penetration Testing

This type of pentesting focuses on the security issues found in applications on the client’s side in order to highlight the potential vulnerabilities. It would include the testing of web browsers, clients’ emails, Macromedia Flash, and other client-side applications.

2. Wireless Penetration Testing

It’s important to test the security of devices connected across the same wireless network as this integrated pathway could lead to the easier transport of security issues. Be it employees’ laptops, smartphones connected to the office network, and other Internet of Things (IoT) devices. The main feature of wireless pentesting is that such tests need to be conducted onsite as the ethical hacking team had to be in the range of the wireless network to conduct the related tests.

3. Web Application Penetration Testing

In 2020, web application vulnerabilities were the number one reason that led to data breaches (43%). Therefore, web app pentesting is a crucial aspect of any cybersecurity strategy to cover all possible security vulnerabilities and gaps in necessary barricades. Under this, the testing team will cover web-based applications including browsers and related plugins, Silverlight, Applets, Scriptlets, etc. The advantage of these tests is the detailed scope of detecting security risks so that specific components will be covered under the testing methodology.

4. Network/Infrastructure Penetration Testing

As important as it’s to ensure the security of the data, it’s equally important to evaluate the strength of the existing infrastructure in the protection of key components of the system. These weaknesses could occur either on-premises or in the cloud where data is stored, making it crucial for businesses to test the appropriate levels of security. Network pentesting procedures also focus on vulnerabilities in data encryption, timed security updates, and other configuration issues. This type of testing is done both through external and internal procedures to be carried out depending on the system requirement.

5. Social Engineering Penetration Testing

This is one of the more popular pentesting procedures as it tests for scenarios where users are tricked into divulging sensitive information, username password credentials, etc which are commonly used by malicious hackers. Social engineering attacks cover the most common forms of attacking which includes phishing, imposters, smishing (phishing using mobile platforms), vishing (voice phishing done through phone calls), etc.

6. Physical Penetration Testing

Hackers can also hack systems by physically accessing the data servers of the organization. The ethical hacking team attempts to simulate a real-time hacking scenario using which they can attack the existing security barriers of the organization and the infrastructure. Attacks will also be designed against the business’ employees, clients, and other related systems to gain a complete picture of the possible impact of a hacking attempt and the necessary remedial steps to be taken. 

5 Steps Involved in Mobile Application Penetration Testing

While each pentesting procedure is unique to the needs and features of the application being tested, there is a generalized list of steps that should be followed to ensure successful testing. This includes the discovery of vulnerabilities, assessment of the security risks, further analysis and exploitation of the security risks, and the final report with recommendations.

The initial process of discovery focuses on finding the details of the system that’s important in defining the testing procedures and preparing a list of vulnerabilities. Analysis of the system is also necessarily conducted before and after the testing procedure to evaluate the existing status of the security barriers. The exploitation phase of pentesting will both detect the vulnerabilities and understand their impact on the business in terms of multiple security risks posing different kinds of risks and determining the success of a testing procedure.

The final report is an important step in the penetration testing procedure as it must represent the findings as well as the security recommendations in a manner that’s understandable for the technical and non-technical experts.

The mobile application penetration testing process is an important stage of the cybersecurity strategy for every firm and must be implemented regularly to ensure efficient results.

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